St. Joseph the Worker Church

In God We Trust

"In God We Trust" has been the official motto of the United States for more than 50 years — declared so by unanimous votes in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1956, and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Most of us are aware that this declaration and motto have been challenged in courts through the years, but it is sending a message to us as Catholics that is similar to the messages in the Holy Scripture on this Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our First Reading is drawn from the Book of Amos. Amos is one of the Minor Prophets — however, he is said to have had a great influence on Isaiah, with whom we are more familiar perhaps. Like the other prophets, as well as each of us, God called Amos, a sheepherder and farmer. Any response to the call of God requires a combination of courage and trust in the Lord.

In today's reading, Amos says, "I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The Lord took me from following the flock, and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel'."

Although we may not be called to prophesy, we are indeed called by God, and one of the driving forces in our lives should be to discover, pursue and follow that calling. Yet, just as it did for Amos and many others, it will require our total trust in God.

After his dramatic conversion, St. Paul submitted his life to serving God. He trusted the Lord implicitly. Paul faced insults, rejection, and trial after trial, but he remained content with his life. Why? Because he surrendered his will to the Lord. Paul learned that God always has our best interests at heart. Paul would have each of us ask "Who is in charge of your life?"

In effect, that is what he maintains in our Second Reading from Paul's Letter to the Ephesians. St. Paul may not say it directly, but that trust is implied when he says in this reading, "In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit."

Roof Project Moving Along Well

Our long overdue roof replacement is moving along very well and is on schedule to be completed by early July. The project includes reroofing both our church roof and the office/rectory building roof (with new gutters). This project is being financed by generous bequeaths from Mr. Lawrence Butters and Mr. Joseph Hurlimann. It was their love and support for St. Joseph the Worker that is making this project possible. May God bless their souls.

The Holy Mass is a Sacrifice - Never Forget That

Once we realize the depth of this mysterious exchange, our appreciation for the Mass and our appropriation of its benefits will increase.
- Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Last weekend when we celebrated Corpus Christi I got thinking again of the strangeness of the Mass. Here we say we offer the sacrifice of the Mass. In this modern, techno-whiz-bang of a world, in this scientific, rationalistic society, we still go through the ancient and arcane practice of making a sacrifice?

Yes we do, and we use this language without apology. Yet when you stop to think about it, how strange is this? One of the universal practices of humanity around the world in ancient times is the ritual of sacrifice. The reasons and methods of sacrifice are complex and varied, but what remains is that in virtually every religion, in every part of the world, in one way or another, a sacrifice was offered.

Sometimes the sacrifice was linked with the scapegoat idea — the terrors and trials and problems and fears of the people were projected onto the sacrificial victim, and as it was killed the problems and sins were done away with. The sacrifice was sometimes simply a ritualistic way to get rid of the tribe's enemy. In battle the enemy was captured and then ritually sacrificed. Another element of the sacrificial system was an attempt to placate the gods so they would provide the necessary weather conditions for a good crop. Sacrifices were also offered as a way of giving the gods a gift of something precious. There were also identifications with the mysteries of life and death, the underworld, redemption, release and the idea of an exchange of victims to effect justice and peace.

Catholicism is the one religion in the modern world today that still offers a sacrifice on a regular basis. I believe Hindus still offer sacrifices at a low level of making offerings, and there may be some other obscure sects in the Middle East who do, but the Catholic Church is the only religion that still maintains a full sacrificial system through the mystery of the Mass—and does so worldwide at every altar, every day.

Why is this? Why have sacrifices pretty much died out everywhere, yet it remains within Catholicism? Because the cross of Christ is the "one, full, final sacrifice." On the cross the sacrificial systems of the world were fulfilled. All was completed. The Mass is the daily remembrance of that one, full, final sacrifice. Through the mystery of the Mass we bring that completed sacrifice into the present moment and apply it's graces to our needs today.

This is why the concept of the "sacrifice of the Mass" must not be minimized or lost. The Mass is not primarily the "family fellowship meal." It is not primarily the "gathering." It is not just a time to sing hymns, hold hands and hear a homily about how to be nice people and make the world a better place. Instead it is a solemn ritual. It is the one full final sacrifice alive again and again and day after day, presented to God in an unbloody manner.

Once we realize the depth of this mysterious exchange, our appreciation for the Mass and our appropriation of its benefits will increase.

Prayer to Saint Joseph, our Patron, for a Difficult Problem

O Glorious St. Joseph, thou who hast power to render possible even things which are considered impossible, come to our aid in our present trouble and distress.

Take this important and difficult affair under thy particular protection, that it may end happily.


O dear St. Joseph, all our confidence is in thee. Let it not be said that we would invoke thee in vain; and since thou art so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that thy goodness equal thy power. Amen.

St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.

St. Joseph the Worker received a wonderful mention in the May 2018 issue of "FIRST THINGS" by renowned editor, R.R. Reno:

"On a recent trip to the Bay Area, I went to church at the Berkeley parish of St. Joseph the Worker. The priest celebrated ad orientem, which as I've noted many times in these pages accentuates the sacrificial character of the Mass and gives the entire service a stronger vertical thrust.

The Sanctus and Agnus Dei, along with a few other elements of the service, were sung in Latin with the natural dignity of plainchant. The congregants received the sacrament on their knees at the altar rail. All of this took place in a more than one-hundred-year-old building with modest iconography of a traditional sort.

I was reminded yet again that liturgical transcendence is readily accessible. There was nothing revanchist about the service at St. Joseph the Worker, nothing archaeological, nothing remotely alien to the experience of Catholics raised on the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Instead, the worship was elevated by the fact that the liturgy was not unnecessarily puerile and complacent.

I tip my hat to Fr. Kenneth Nobrega, the priest-in-charge at St. Joseph the Worker."